The Story of a Lilac Tree
“It started with a lilac tree” reads the Toronto Star article published on May 8th, 1970, when the child care first opened. The idea for the child care was originally proposed to the Martin Luther Church congregation by Pastor Eberhard W. Schwantes, with the mission to give the neighbourhood’s children a safe place to play. His son Michael Schwantes recalls that the idea came to his father as he was looking out the window from the church office. “It was because he saw the children playing in the parking lot, and they had nowhere to go” he explains, “he said … they needed a place to go.”
It would be a long year of work before the child care could welcome the children of the Mimico neighbourhood – as the 1970 Toronto Star article puts it, “Then came operation elbow grease.” In May 1970, the building opened its doors to the community at large, and started to provide care for 26 neighbourhood children.
Before long the child care grew to include a toddler, preschool, and school age program. It even spread to the basement of the church at 2379 Lakeshore Boulevard West. Today, the organization is licensed to provide care for up to 56 children ages 18 months to 12 years of age.